Monthly Archives: May 2017

Crowdfunding or Not…

Oh don’t ask me – just don’t. I put stuff on my blog, and almost before i’ve had a chance to post it twice on Twitter, it gets superseded.

So i was posting about turning into a pony – that’s still on the cards. The superseded one is about possibly crowdfunding and stuff. I decided i don’t need to. Yep. Advances in printing technology mean printing one book at a time is almost as cheap as printing 100. Though true, once you get into thousands, traditional printing becomes cheaper.

Of course, it means i won’t have a budget for marketing. So consider yourself “the marketing department” because if the people who follow this blog and me on Twitter don’t help, there’s not going to be any promotion, bar what i shout about myself.

This is a very short blog, but during it i’ve baked bread, including waited for 2 rises, i prepped roast chook (chicken) and peeled veg. Now i’m about to be summoned by the kitchen timer. And i still have shouting to do on Twitter.

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com

 


Deeply Unpopular & Flawed

This arrived in my emails, and as the sender said they don’t have a web presence, thought it needed to be somewhere. As they predicted the government is indeed trying to bring in the Cashless Debit Card, because it’s not enough to be poor, you have to be poor AND miserable “four of every five participants report none of the positive changes the cashless card is meant to encourage.” From here on, not my words…

Big Brother Welfare Threat to 2.3 Million Australians in 2017 Federal Budget

The Federal government appears likely to extend an income support model known as the Cashless Debit Card to new areas and new recipients despite very high administrative costs, and little valid evidence that it works.  Despite a negative thorough evaluation of the 10 years of trialling Income Management in the NT and elsewhere, and initial questionable trials of the Cashless Debit Card, the Social Security Minister continues to signal his intentions to expand the program. Expenditure of $18.9M for this trial of 1850 recipients in SA and WA indicate the costs are high for questionable outcomes.

A network of community organisations, activists and academics is warning of a seismic change in the way income support payments may be administered following the 2017 Federal Budget and ask why , in a time when cuts are imposed to save money, this type of costly change is being promoted

After trialling the cashless debit card in Ceduna and the East Kimberley over the past 12 months there are signs that Commonwealth Government is considering extending this social experiment across other communities, perhaps implementing it as a nationwide program. The cashless debit card forces those receiving income support payments to have 80% of their payments quarantined to a card that cannot be used to purchase alcohol or gambling or to withdraw cash.

The Accountable Income Management Network (AIMN) has been monitoring the implementation of various compulsory income management measures across Australia over the past 3 years.  Network spokesperson (Mr Simon Schrapel) said “Evidence gathered through the government’s own research shows that over half of the cashless debit card trial participants said it had made their lives worse.  The government seems to be ignoring this alarming feedback, and is intent on extending the card’s application”.

The Network has been examining the impacts of the card on those in the trial sites together with the research reports commissioned by the government.  Mr Schrapel said “despite significant government promotion and investment, this social experiment suffers from a number of significant flaws including:

  • Removal or reduction of basic legal and consumer rights of participants.
  • Throwing into disarray existing financial services arrangements, for example loan repayments.
  • Polarisation of community views, with participants subject to criticism and in some cases personal ridicule for expressing their views and experiences.
  • At a cost of $10,000 to administer per participant the cashless debit card has proven to be one of the most expensive and inefficient experiments at a time the government is calling on greater financial restraint.
  • Most damning of all, four of every five participants report none of the positive changes the cashless card is meant to encourage.

It defies logic that government is now considering imposing this compulsory financial management system on more Australians.”

The Network warns that all Australians should be deeply concerned by this development.  Up to 2.3 million people are at risk of losing the right to spend their income in the way that they choose – a basic human right we have traditionally taken for granted in our nation.

The government must come clean with its intentions and justify why it would consider the further roll out of a system to control peoples’ use and management of their own money.  The system has proven to be deeply unpopular with those who have been subjected to the experiment to date.

For comment, contact:

Mr Simon Schrapel AM

 Dr Shelley Bielefeld  

Eva Cox 

****

I redacted their contact details – if you’d like them, just say.


Mostly human, probably NSFW

The blog’s Not Safe For Work. I, I will be partly pony. Yep, I’ve decided i’m not a real girl. Not a sex pony, you know, that’s not me. The ones you see on those bizarro reality TV documentaries acting out their childhood or teen angst by dragging leather/lycra-clad people around in carts.

“Of course,” they say to camera, while ‘owner’ cinches them into a corset, cos sure, that’s what ponies wear, “it’s a secret, my adult pony playing. That’s why i’m appearing on a sensationalist show that will be shown all around the world for the next 100 years.”

*Pony-play person neighs and tries to get lycra pony-suit out of her butt-crack with one of her plastic hooves. Eventually ‘owner’ takes pity on her and undoes the velcro holding the hoof on.*

Nope, that is so not me. I’m the bolshy kind of pony. The pony who crushes you against the fence, who stands on your foot, the one who bites you as you try to get into the saddle. Who, when you finally make it into the saddle, takes off at a gallop before suddenly dropping my head between my fetlocks and kicking up my back hooves. And smirks as you fly off into the nearest tree/mud/water/fence/brick wall.

And seriously – saddles are for the tamed. I won’t wear that kind of thing. I would like a new leather coat if someone’s offering, mine was eaten by mould when i lived in New South Wales.

Why am i a pony? Or Part-Pony? Being human’s not working for me. I’d be better off with hooves. Fully opposable ones, of course. My hair’s in my eyes, let’s call it a forelock and be done with it. I don’t have a tail, but we could put that down to a Terrible Accident. The alternative is one of these, and i am SO not going there.

Tasha-Reignbow-Pony-Tail-Plug-4-colors-326x326

Of course someone has made girly pony tails as sex toys. Everything else is also available, why not pony tails? And yes, that link is so NSFW you probably shouldn’t click it.
Some things you can’t unsee.

I’m not really a My Little Pony kind of pony. I will roll in mud, get brambles in my mane, and children will find me scary.

“Mummy! The pony’s looking at me funny!”
“Don’t be silly, darling, ponies don’t do that.”
“Mummy? The pony just said if i tell tales someone will cut my tongue out.”
“Jacinta!” Mummy tries not to shout. “We’ve had this discussion before, darling, we don’t pretend animals talk, do we?”

*Mummy decides it’s way past time for an afternoon white wine. Just out of her sightline, pony mimes cutting motion with one hoof across its throat.

Jacinta begins to hyperventilate.*

Why a pony? As i said, human’s getting harder. If i could survive on grass, lucerne, pony nuts, and the occasional apple i’d be much better off.

I’d be hyper-cute and Social Security wouldn’t be something to be afraid of any more.

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My Little Ponies aren’t as nice as they pretend to be…

So, if i shift species i’ll be free of worry. All i have to do is keep Jacinta in line. How hard can that be?

Compared to dealing with government departments, coping with hate from idiots who think disabled people are all bludging fakes because MSM (Mainstream Media) and their own government tell them so?

I reckon ponyness poniness pony-ness will be a doddle in comparison.

devilpony

Do you feel lucky, Jacinta?
Well do ya?

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


The Best Things in Life

The next bit of that quote is “are free”. Which is where i’m about to head with my books. That’s right  – the ebooks will be free. Not yet, so don’t go buying one. I don’t get the money anyway. I put a stop on any payments while i got myself sorted out, and (as i explained in the last blog) there’s never been enough sales to warrant taking the stop off.

[EDIT So much has changed since i wrote this, that as of 28 May 2017 i’m doing a whole new blog post which will be pretty much contradicting everything below. So yeah, everything below this point is possibly no longer current. I’m not even sure i’ll try crowdfunding. The e-reader stuff is useful and current.]

So, the ebooks will be free. I’m tired of struggling with online US-based publishing, and with trying to explain  my tax situation to the US tax office at a distance of tens of thousands of miles. Every time i’ve figured out which form to send in, they change the rules! All for the sake of literally cents.

Most of all, i’m going nuts with my books not being read. Book 1 came out in 2011. It’s been SIX years.

So when i finish this edit (of three books into four) the quartet will go up on Smashwords. EDIT After some thought, the first 2 will go up – the other two will be available (with 1 & 2) as free ebook gifts for people who support the crowdfunding.

For all my frustration with e-publishing, I do like having my Smashwords books available in any format, not just for Kindle. You may not be aware, but Amazon’s MOBI format is exclusive to them. Most other e-readers use EPUB format.

Amazon (& other formats) also lock the book (via Digital Rights Management or DRM) so you can’t move the book you own from your ereader to your laptop. I’ve always been against that so Smashwords suits me. I  like people to be able to read my book when they want, on whatever platform they want. If you accidentally delete a book from Smashwords, you can just go back to the site and re-download it.

If you don’t have a Kindle or other e-reader, you can download various free e-readers for smartphones, tablets, desktops or laptops. Kindle’s one is good (and free) available here.

If you’d rather go with a non-Amazon reader (Kindle can’t read anything except Amazon MOBI format books, and it’s better on very small screens because of its display limitations), there are more. I have a desktop and have used the Kindle one, but i tried others, as i have to make sure my books look okay whatever format they’re in.

Here’s an article on TechRadar explaining the current top free e-readers and with links to get them. They also have a link to a converter for when your e-reader can’t deal with a downloaded file type. There are a lots of free books online. Many, admittedly, are free for a reason. But there are gems – Project Gutenberg, for free e-books now out of copyright, is fantastic. There is now an Australian Gutenberg, for books pre-1955 – scroll down that page for links to wonderful Australian publications.

However, for me, giving away the e-books is a taster (EDIT and a reward) for raising money via crowdfunding. Many e-reader users still love books and will buy a paper book, and those who won’t buy e-books will buy paper.

So many would-be readers have asked me over the years, when is the print version coming out? When i said so far it wasn’t, they explained they don’t like reading anything long off a screen. Two of my sisters haven’t read Book 1 (they even got it free!) for just that reason.

So that’s where i’m at. Doing a quick edit to check balance, arc, strange spelling mistakes that have crept in, then it’s a quick paper edit. (Well, as quick as paper can be. Because once you’ve red pencilled your way through all that paper, you then have to transfer the edits into the computer.)

During that time, i have to sort out the crowdfunding page. I haven’t decided which site to use, other than having learned from my mistakes, i will be using an Aussie-friendly one. I’ll also be figuring out my legal standing on crowdfunding as income, who it needs to be declared to and how soon, because i want to make sure i don’t do anything wrong as far as the Authorities are concerned. (EDIT making progress, but omigod it’s so complicated! Not the crowdfunding, but how i have to organise everything before i go live)

Not much work, lol. And Mr Whatsit will be in hospital soon, then out with a 6+ week recovery period, so it’s not like i have anything else to do, like caring for someone. Yep, in a matter of weeks i should be getting all this on the road. When i say weeks, I mean 12. And when i say 12, i probably mean 16. Or maybe more. Especially as i don’t know yet if i have to move house this year.

Yes, if you care about me at all, pray to your deity of choice (or Siamese Cat of choice) that i get a lease renewal, cos if i don’t, everything is going to be extremely stuffed. And when i say stuffed, i mean fkd.

Because Mr won’t be able to walk, i have my physical limits, and moving at short notice is never fun, even for the able-bodied. On the bright side, i still haven’t unpacked everything from last year’s aborted move, so most of the knick-knack’s and a lot of the crockery is still boxed up.

I thought i’d leave you with some recent witticism from Twitter, but instead figured this was probably what you need to hear…

 

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com


I Was Thinking…

The thinking took some time. Basically i had three books. They were somehow unbalanced. The more i tried to balance them, the longer they got. And the more out of balance.

I took some time out. Some more time out. I spent a lot of time on twitter. Getting retweeted is affirming, no doubt about it, and i enjoyed catching up with people i adore and had forgotten existed.

My head’s like that. Involved in a book, i can forget my own family. Even myself. Reading a good book should be like that, writing them possibly more so.

I did quite a lot of research while i tweeted, figuring out the intricacies of crowd-funding, on demand publishing, and deciding whether the previously only e-publishing model was worth sticking to. Quite simply, it wasn’t.

When i first published The Birthday Dragon, i accidentally took it off public display, not realising Adult (it was adult fiction, not ‘young adult’ or ‘children’s’) meant the same as X rated on the prim US site i was on, and my book was literally only available to those looking for porn. So sales were, to put it mildly, minimal.

It took me nearly 3 months to realise what was going on, and by then it was too late. I’d missed what booksellers call the golden window for sales. The book never sold. People agreed it was wonderful, reviewed it glowingly. Still no sales.

Even today, it’s one of the highest rated books on Smashwords. Out of all books on the site over 100,000 words, it’s still on the front page, admittedly at No 20, but it was published back in 2011. Put in ‘under $2.99’ and it’s number 8.

Currently, if you look at Sci Fi over 100,000 words, it’s number 1. Fantasy over 100k it rates highly, but if ‘under $2.99’ it’s number 1 again. But it isn’t selling. At all. It’s one of those questions – is it me? Or is it Smashwords?

I tried competitions, blogs, tweeting, sacrificing small geeks, edits, and still, no sales. So i gave up. It would be alright when i did Book 2.

Right before publication of Book 2, the person doing the cover art decided not to. Two weeks before publication. It rocked me more than a little. Doing it for free doesn’t mean to me that it’s ok to be unprofessional. I didn’t pillory him on Twitter, which shows control i didn’t think i had. I tried to do some artwork myself, and my graphics tablet blew up.

Mr Whatsit (and some articles i read confirmed the notion) suggested i leave Book 2, do Book 3, and put them both out at once. Maximise sales, give me time to do some artwork myself. Then my landlord at the time served notice.

A new graphics tablet dropped into my lap (via the post, a friend upgraded and sent me theirs), i completed the books, the interstate move (2013) plus three more (1 more in 2013, 2 in 2014) .

Finally settled, i finished off Book 3 and organised the artwork. I did take the nutso artist’s cover off Book 1. For all i knew he was about to demand i did and the cover didn’t match the book, so what the hell.

I had other real life problems. Mr couldn’t manage even the few stairs here. We were supposed to move. Again. Scheduling a book release when i couldn’t promote it seemed nuts, so i put it off. Again.

The move, late 2015, didn’t happen. My car needed a sudden injection of funds, all the moving money, and fortunately the landlord didn’t mind us begging to stay. Never mind, we’ll move in 2016.

Cancer clawed at me, thankfully caught by signs my doctor paid attention to. Not just one cancer scare, but possible tumours in breasts, back, uterus, and brain had my whole attention.

Not just moving was cancelled. My life was. Then it wasn’t. Thankfully they caught everything early, or it was benign, or it wasn’t cancer. I did go through major abdominal surgery, and ended up minus womb and ovaries, which seems a small price to pay for life, but did put paid to moving.

I was off Twitter. It seemed i had nothing to say, or at least nothing i felt like sharing. “My life is fucked, how’s yours?” I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like discussing depression with others. My depression that is, i’ll happily discuss other people’s. (I will go to a psyche, and endure the tears and laughter that make up a talking cure.)

I hit Twitter again. It was lovely, and i cursed myself for a fool for not enjoying my friends. Or for not giving them credit for being whole humans who might actually care about other people. I carefully avoided thinking about the books.

Suddenly, it came to me. The books needed to be a … wtf do you call a four book set? I pretended not to hear the thought for weeks. I did surreptitiously do that research on crowdfunding and print on demand. Under my own radar, while shouting about goddamn fascists on Twitter.

After some Googling and more thought, i decided a quartet was the right name. We were supposed to be moving mid year, so i was thinking seriously about how to schedule moving and books. Then Mr got some good news, the operation he’s been waiting years for is happening this year. So we’re not moving. Again.

And i have no more excuses. Unless the landlord springs the kind of unpleasant surprise every tenant dreads (Guess what? I’ve decided to double the rent/knock down the house and build an apartment block/evict you cos it’s a Leap Year) and i have to move.

My health isn’t good, but it never is. I wrote the books despite that.

So i’ve started splitting them into 4. Gives me 4 books of about 100,000 words. I’m hammering out the chapter summaries, which as the books changed, stupid me had not kept up. Without them, editing the books further is tricky, i can’t see the flow.

Looking at the price of self-publishing books this size, i may have to cut them further, either with editing or cutting them into more books. I’m not sure. Depends on what i want to crowd-fund. My education in that and Print on Demand is cursory, and to be honest, it’s more than a little scary.

Not as scary as real life with the continued demonisation of anyone on welfare – what we in Australia called ‘benefit’ up until the current right wing government decided we were all probably criminals and as ‘welfare’  was already a dirty word thanks to US hatespeech, it worked for them.

Freedom of speech as the USA calls it, and now our government’s borrowing that notion too – they want the right to call anyone non-pinkish coloured a n________. The right to discriminate against brown or black people, against non-Christians and anyone who dares dissent.

Yes, the same LNP government that when Trump declared his ‘Muslim Ban’, crowed, delighted that in their words, someone was copying their policies.

You know the disabled people of Germany were the first to the gas chambers? As the sick, disabled, and aged are called non-profit-making drains on society, as the government (of rich white men and their sycophant women) say they’re going to cut ‘welfare’ to ‘bludgers’, well, real life is a place i really don’t want to be.

As i said on Twitter….

 Time’s a wasting.

copyright 2017 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com